At The Unexpected Gift, we work hard to make sure the products we sell and use for our services are safe and do not contain carcinogens. Carcinogens are compounds that are known to cause cancer and they are found in many products that we use on a daily basis. Personally, I do not think we can all live in a bubble, but I do believe that we can make choices to decrease the risk of using products that contain cancer causing carcinogens.

The skin is our largest organ, anything that we use on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream. If you were using a body cream that you knew had a number of ingredients that were known human carcinogens, would you consider purchasing an alternate body lotion? That would be a small, educated change in reducing the number of cancer causing chemicals that might increase your risk of cancer. Seems like a no-brainer right?

The products we carry at The Unexpected Gift are safe and free of these chemicals. Many of the lines we carry are made by Manitoba women in business who care about what they are using so much, they have created safe skin care and cosmetics. Companies like Purely Gorgeous Cosmetics, Mama Pacha Herbal and Wickedly Beautiful use natural ingredients. These items are sold and used for services such as manicures, pedicures, facials and massage therapy.

Here are some of the ingredients that you can look out for. I am not saying by avoiding these chemicals that you will be free from the threat of cancer or other diseases, but small choices make it healthier for you and the environment!

One of the big ones is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is used in personal care products to prevent bacteria growth. It is most often found in nail polish, eye shadow, mascara, shampoo and blush. Formaldehyde can also be listed as quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidozolidinyl urea, DMDM hydrantoin and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol. Yikes, right??

Endocrine disrupting chemicals such as phthalates and parabens have been linked to breast cancer and leukemia. An endocrine disruptor does just that, it changes the way hormones in the body naturally work and have been seen to cause cancerous tumors, birth defects and have an effect on development.

Parabens are used as an anti-fungal and as a preservative. It can be contained in creams, lotions, and deodorants. Parabens have been found in biopsies from breast cancer tumours. (

Phthalates are found in nail polish and synthetic fragrances. They have been linked to breast cancer.

Coal tar is a known human carcinogen that has been associated with scrotal, lung, bladder, kidney, and digestive tract cancers. ( It is also found in the ingredient listing for personal care products.

Benzene is a derivative of coal tar and is an endocrine disruptor. It is commonly used to make plastics and detergents. It can be found in conditioners and other hair styling products.

Mineral oils are produced by crude oil, which as you might have guessed is a known carcinogen!!Shocker right? Mineral oils contain a large amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAs). PHAs are found in crude oil, coal, and gasoline. They have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer (

PHAs are found in eye shadow, moisturizers, lip gloss, lipstick, blush, concealer, conditioner and hair
styling products.

Triclosan is a common ingredient in anti-bacterial soaps, deodorant and toothpaste. It is used to limit the growth of mold and bacteria. Triclosan is classified as a pesticide. Enough said on this one?

The list of toxic ingredients goes on and on. There are many reports written on these and more chemicals that can increase the risk of many different types of cancers. I am not a scientist or a researcher, this is just some of the stuff I have come across in my quest for knowledge on cancer and causes. It is also important for me to know, and really just on the surface, about these chemicals. I do not want The Unexpected Gift to stock its’ shelves with unsafe skin products.

When I look at the ingredient lists of the products I carry, this is what I see: shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, calendula, aloe vera gel, beeswax, essential oils, grapefruit extract, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, vitamin E, rosemary leaf and lavender. The creators of these products are wanting better options for their own families, and we are lucky enough to have these options because of their vision. We even carry a vegan nail polish – yes vegan! Better yet, it lasts a long time and it’s fantastic.

The Unexpected Gift will continue to stock these items so that safe skin care and cosmetics can be a choice that you make for yourself. If you can change a few items in your home, in your daily routine that may reduce the risk of cancer – why wouldn’t you? Educate yourself by checking out the web sites listed and check out the Environmental Working Group at for listing of safe cosmetics, safe foods and safe living. There is a great book that you can read to learn more, it is called There’s Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon.

Choose wisely.